BEES AS TEACHERS OF THE COMMONS – freedom from the Enclosure mentality
A deep quiet has come over the honey bee sanctuary. It is winter and only by knocking on the side of the wooden hives do we hear the soft humming song from within . There is a connectivity with nature and land here in the sanctuary. This is a joyful and sacred space and this space brings up similar feelings to us of entering into the Fox Shrine in Tokyo or entering into that very tiny Baroque church in a small village in Tirol, Austria. The expanded levity of the bees of summer has now contracted into a winter’s small version of the cosmos;, ever spiralling around the central Sun their Queen and waiting for the Spring Equinox . At this time, all of nature seems to be imitating the bees —— the earth also secretly and silently bursts with hidden life, under her snowy blanket .
This ancient Winter’s Tale of the Honeybee has been unfolding for the past one hundred million years on this earth . It is this tale which draws pictures of our world’s landscapes being formed by the bees in a dance with nature and mankind. And while we contemplate on such Imaginations on these early dark nights of winter; we enjoy another type of gift of Illumination from the bees;—- this time it is their candle light.
THE FREEDOM TO ROAM – a right of the Commons
“The freedom to roam, or everyman’s right is the general public’s right to access certain public or privately owned land for recreation and exercise. The right is sometimes called the right of public access to the wilderness or the right to roam.” wikipedia
Regardless of where you place a bee hive, the bees will happily fly in all directions for at least five kilometers.They have what is called “the Freedom to Roam”. They are symbiotically connected to the landscape which they have helped to create. Because flowers are rooted into the earth and cannot walk over to the next flower to be pollinated, the bees are the” legs” of the flowers . They will not only visit all of the flora of the area where they live and pollinate ,they will also bring necessary life-forces, in the form of acid vapors and warmth , to the plant world so that they can stay healthy and live. When one reads about the new Harvard designed Robotic Bee, which they see as the future pollinator of plants, we can question the depth of a science which
sees living species in such a “dead” materialistic way. So much more than just the movement of pollens happens between the plant world and the
honey bee and without those life enhancing processes the plants will eventually become sick and die, despite the robotic manipulation of pollen transfer. And not only do the bees do all of this amazing co-creativity with the plants and the landscape; they then bring back to the hive the shared gifts from the plants . There is the nectar which they transform into the perfect food – honey and into wax- which brings us illumination when darkness falls upon us and nature’s perfect medicine, propolis. How special is all of this! And all of this Dance of Life of the Honeybee takes place without borders or Enclosures , without money and without ownership of any kind. The bees demonstrate freely through their loving nature, the True life of the Commons, with the right to the Freedom to Roam, which all Human Beings also enjoyed before it was stolen from them.
. When we first brought the honey bees to live with us, we noticed that the landscape started to have an aliveness which was not there before. After their arrival, there were just far more flowers in the fields, but more than that ,there was a “happiness” factor which the land did not vibrate with before the arrival of the bees. This “happiness factor” has only grown over the years, as the bees and the landscape around them, started to blur into one dynamic picture of total connectivity. Are they revealing to us their secret covenant with creation through this connectivity? The bees are lovingly 100% implicated in the world they live in; are we? They are truly part of everything and the consciousness of the goodwill and freedom of the Commons ethos is being demonstrated by all that they dedicate themselves to. They have made a covenant with Creation and together with nature they create a world of Beauty and Abundance. Is this not the same legacy which each of us can give to our own lives, community and to the earth? Heather Menzie’s, in her absolutely inspiring and brilliant book “Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good” is a must read for anyone who wishes to become a true keeper of the bees. It is an exploration which requires that we open up to the inner call of the “commons ethos” so we too can be free to empower the life around us and create a world of
Beauty and Abundance and in so doing we automatically will be nurtured with the “nectar of the gods”- just like the bees.